The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly disrupted schooling nationwide, raising serious concerns about the impact of the pandemic on children’s learning, the ways online learning may be exacerbating racial inequities, and the need to balance the strong desire for in-person learning with the risks posed by the pandemic.” (Bassok & Shapiro, 2021). One of the most noticeable impacts was a significant drop in prekindergarten and kindergarten enrollments across the country and in Vermont. “Early-grade enrollment drops are troubling given the importance of early learning experiences for children’s school readiness. High-quality experiences in the early grades have also been linked to reductions in special education placements and grade retention.” (Bassok & Shapiro, 2021). In VT, “schools will need considerable resources, time, and flexibility to assess the wide-ranging developmental needs of children and to target a host of needed supports. They will need to think creatively about how best to structure classrooms and learning experiences to meet the very divergent needs of children in the early grades—especially those youngest, most vulnerable learners who missed out on learning opportunities at a uniquely critical moment in their development. (Bassok & Shapiro, 2021).
The R4K!S is not a direct assessment of students; rather it relies on the teacher’s accumulated observational knowledge of the child developed during the first few weeks of kindergarten. The R4K!S, along with its scoring on readiness identification methods, is based on recommendations made as a result of an independent validity review conducted by American Institutes for Research (AIR) in spring of 2015.
R4K!S data results comparisons made between SY2016 through SY2022 data are considered valid. It is important to note that readiness results prior to SY2016 are not recommended nor valid comparisons to the SY2016 through SY2022 results.